Skip to main content

Developing a partial fishmeal replacer from EU plant raw materials for use in aquaculture


Aquaculture in the EU is important for: - providing healthy and enjoyable food for the citizens, - helping to reduce the great imbalance between imports and exports of fish (products), - creating jobs in rural and coastal areas with few other employment alternatives, - and helping in the fish stock conservation policies of the EU. Much fishmeal is used in the production of fish feed for fish farming. The EU must import enormous amounts of fishmeal for its requirements. The supplies, quality and prices of fishmeal have been fluctuating greatly in recent years. It is, therefore, important for the EU to seek and develop alternatives for fishmeal within the EU itself. The objective of this project was to develop a partial fishmeal replacer based on the protein-rich, plant raw materials grown in the EU. This helps reduce the EU dependence on fishmeal imports. Pulses such as peas and beans are good raw materials for this purpose. We succeeded to produce a protein concentrate based on field peas, which could successfully replace a minimum of 40% fishmeal in salmon diets. For this purpose we modified and optimised wind-sifting technology to concentrate the protein. Nutritional evaluation on various phases of fish life confirmed our achievement. We also successfully developed a modified high tech process of extrusion for improving the nutritional value and shelf life of the product. The most significant outcomes of the project were: 1- The development of a modified and optimised dry wind sifting process to produce protein concentrates from pulses, mainly yellow field peas in a tailor made manner in terms of protein level (%). 2- Production of cost effective protein concentrates of various protein contents as desired. 3- Development of an effective extrusion process fitted to handle very fine powders like our protein concentrate and the accompanying starch rich fraction. And by applying this extrusion process, the production of excellent quality protein concentrates in terms of: the destruction of the residual anti-nutritional factors in the protein fraction without affecting the amino acids availability and protein quality. Simultaneously, gelatinisation of starch in the protein fraction making it highly digestible for the fish. On the basis of the completion and findings of this project, a Joint Venture Agreement was signed between FKRA (the biggest feed producer in Norway), Harald Mathisen and Codrico B.V. After the relevant negotiations and discussions, it was agreed to install a factory in Stavanger, Norway, to use the technology we had developed. The necessary equipment and machinery have already been ordered and the wind-sifting of peas is expected to start in the second quarter of 2007. The initial capacity of the plant will be the processing of 100.000 tons of yellow peas. Apart from the hulls, two fractions will be obtained in the process: a) a protein-rich fraction (up to 60% protein with higher levels still possible if the production costs are favourable) and b) a starch-rich fraction in which the residual protein is present. The products can be sold without further treatment, or extruded in the plant and then sold.